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Shortage of Rice Production puts Global Food Security Under the Bus

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Francis Ndege contemplates on the affordability of his rice for the Africans largest slum.

Due to the year-long drought and high rates of fertilizer in the Horn of Africa, the production of rice has reduced and the price has increased. Rice imported from India at a lower rate filled the bridge between Africans and the thousands of residents who consumed it surviving on less than $2 a day.

Since June this year, the price of a 25-kilogram (55-pound) bag of rice has risen. Wholesalers are waiting for the stocks to arrive since India, the world’s largest exporter of rice, last month banned some shipments of rice.

Sources have cited that, it’s an effort by India to control domestic prices ahead of a key election year — but it’s left a yawning gap of around 9.5 million metric tons (10.4 tons) of rice that people around the world need, roughly a fifth of global exports.

“I’m really hoping the imports keep coming,” said Ndege, 51, who’s sold rice for 30 years.

Global food security is already under the bus since Russia halted the agreement which allowed Ukraine to export wheat, followed by the El Nino weather incident occuring and hampering rice production. Now, rice prices are soaring — Vietnam’s rice export prices, for instance, have reached a 15-year high — putting the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest nations at risk.

The world is at an “inflection point,” said Beau Damen, a natural resources officer with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization based in Bangkok.

Even before India’s restrictions, countries already were frantically buying rice in anticipation of scarcity later when the El Nino hit, creating a supply crunch and spiking prices.

Rice consumption in Africa has been growing steadily, and most countries are heavily dependent on imports. While nations with growing populations like Senegal have been trying to grow more of their own rice — many are struggling.

Senegal will turn to other trading partners like Thailand or Cambodia for imports, though the West African country is not “far from being self-sufficient” on rice, with over half of its demand grown locally, Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Mamadou Aïcha Ndiaye said.

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1 comment

Shortage of Rice Production puts Global Food Se... August 22, 2023 - 6:23 am

[…] Rising rice prices due to shortages jeopardize global food security. Vulnerable communities at risk. "Shortage of Rice Production puts Global Food Security Under the Bus".  […]

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